Fathi’s Spice Attic

Jul 21 2022. views 234


In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunity and took it!  With new challenges presenting themselves in light of the current economic crisis in the country, we talk to home bakers who are navigating through these difficult times and bringing the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!

Fathi’s Spice Attic by Fathi Haniffa was founded back in 2016 under the name ‘Cripsy Delights’. Having realised that many food-based businesses share the name ‘Delight’ in their brand, she wanted something more unique and personal and ‘Fathi’s Spice Attic’ was born. “It’s my very own virtual spice attic! I am proud of my business concept and I wanted it to have my name.” 

What do you offer?
I offer a range of fusion foods – Arabic Fusion, Asian Fusion, Watti Shoru (rice), Soup Rice, etc. My food is usually a mix of an authentic dish with a few twists and changes on my part. So, Arabic fusion, for example, is meat-flavoured rice (like Mandi and Kabsa) but with a personal twist to it. My bestsellers range from season to season. Sometimes, all my customers want is the Seafood Watti Shoru (Rice) and sometimes they request a simple roti and keema meal from me. For this reason, it’s really hard to pick one “signature” dish but a personal favourite is my Yellow Rice menu. 

What’s a dish you’d recommend for a first-time customer? 
I would recommend the Seafood Watti Short and the Arabic Fusion. 

When did you start operations?
I used to work in a completely different industry (for 12 years!) prior to this but I always maintained a food blog in which I shared food content – this was way before Instagram cooking and recipe videos became a “thing” actually. After a point in my life (and three kids), I realised I wanted to become an entrepreneur and decided to pursue my passion as a career as well! This was in 2016. I was fortunate to have the moral support and encouragement of some very genuine people among family and friends.

What is it like running your operations in times like these? 
Operating during the pandemic was definitely easier than operating during our present economic crisis. The only challenge during the pandemic was to ensure that the ingredients we used for orders were fresh because I relied on non-contact delivery from my suppliers. Apart from that, rations were still available and transport wasn’t an issue. But now, all the ingredients are too costly and it’s not practical to increase the prices either. I still have customers who are willing to pay higher prices but delivery is very difficult to organise because of the fuel crisis nor can my customers come and pick up their orders. Overall, every single home-based business is suffering a very severe hit owing to our current situation. 

How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
All ingredients are washed thoroughly, cleaned and checked for worms and dirt before I begin cooking. As a rule, I make sure that no food remains exposed and unopened. Sometimes, it’s not always easy to use gloves when working with such ingredients so I make sure my hands are washed and cleaned thoroughly. The same applies to my helpers too. 

What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
I enjoy the entire process. I am particularly fond of making the food appeal to the eyes first so that every bite is a treat to the eyes and the taste buds. I like garnishing and dabbling a little with food photography as well. Having my own home-based business gives me full control over my schedule which is very convenient because I am a homemaker too.

How do you see home bakers going forward during this time?
My advice to others like me is to try to do whatever you can that is within your capacity. Obviously, the business won’t be like how it used to be before the economic crisis so your goal has to be survival. If you are taking orders, make sure you don’t cheat your customers. Be grateful to your loyal customers. Currently, I handle operations by discussing the best option with my customers based on both our circumstances. 

What’s in store for your brand this year?
After decades of experience in the kitchen, I would like to impart some of the tips and tricks that have helped me in the kitchen to those who are interested. So, I am currently working on setting up cooking classes and programmes for different age groups.

Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
Start small and be honest with your dealings. If you are interested in joining the food industry, be very generous with your food portions. Fathi’s Spice Attic take orders via Instagram (@fathis_spice_attic) and requires 48 hours prior notice.  Bank Transfers and Cash on Delivery are accepted and delivery can be arranged upon discussion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


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